Bristol-Myers Squibb has acquired iPierian, a privately held biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of new treatments for Tauopathies, a class of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the pathological aggregation of Tau protein in the human brain.
The acquisition gives BMS full rights to iPierian’s lead asset IPN007, an innovative preclinical monoclonal antibody that represents a promising new approach to treat progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and other Tauopathies and could begin phase I trials by early 2015. Genetically defined diseases such as PSP are caused by a known change in the genome. Knowledge of this genomic change then is used to design a therapeutic approach aimed precisely at that molecular defect, such as the anti-Tau antibody for PSP.
BMS has acquired all of iPierian’s issued and outstanding shares of capital stock and all common stock equivalents in an all-cash transaction for $175 million, with the potential for additional development and regulatory milestone payments totaling $550 million, along with future royalties on net sales. The transaction is expected to be accounted for as an asset acquisition for BMS, resulting in a $175 million charge in the second quarter.
“In innovative drug discovery related to the Tau pathway, Bristol-Myers Squibband iPierian are uniquely matched, both strategically and scientifically,” said Dr. Peter Van Vlasselaer, executive chairman of iPierian. “Bristol-Myers Squibb’s global leadership in Tau biology and antibody development creates an ideal setting to accelerate and fully develop the clinical potential of IPN007.”
Tau is a protein that binds the cell’s internal skeleton and may help regulate the activity of brain cells. Tau forms abnormal deposits called neurofibrillary tangles, which can disrupt activity of brain cells and lead to disease. Additionally, Tau is secreted and may drive disease spread and progression. By identifying targets that prevent or reverse Tau dysfunction, it may be possible to identify novel therapeutic strategies to modify the course of a disease. Initial development focus for IPN007 would be on progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare brain disease with Tau dysfunction that presents as an atypical parkinsonian disorder, with the potential for future development in other Tauopathies such as frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.